We’re finally back on the road for Bellator 263 as two-weight champion Patricio Freire puts his featherweight title on the line against AJ McKee in the early hours of Sunday morning.
After a long run of cards in the bio-secure bubble at Mohegan Sun Arena, Connecticut, Bellator 263 heads to The Forum in California this weekend.
Freire and McKee headline the card in Inglewood and there’s plenty to pick from further down the undercard on what looks set to be an exciting night.
McKee to Extend Streak
After going 7-1 as an amateur, McKee made his professional debut at Bellator 136 in 2015, earning a first-round submission win over Marcos Bonilla.
He hasn’t looked back since that triumph and returns to action this weekend with an incredible 17-0 record and is eager to confirm his place as the best in the featherweight division.
Extending his unbeaten streak isn’t going to be easy as he goes up against #1 pound-for-pound fighter Freire, who has won seven in a row.
Freire, who holds titles in the featherweight and lightweight divisions, is 10-2 over the last six years and seven of his last 10 victories have come inside the distance.
The Brazilian is the
5/6 favourite but his reign as the top dog looks in jeopardy as
10/11 McKee sets his sights on glory.
The duo are tied for the most stoppage victories in Bellator featherweight history, each picking up 12, and Sunday’s encounter has all the makings of a classic.
There’s no debating that McKee has yet to face an opponent of Freire’s ability but his height and reach advantage should play a major part.
Sanchez Set to Bounce Back
The co-main event also comes from the featherweight division when #2 Emmanuel Sanchez lines up against #8 Mads Burnell.
It’s just the third appearance under the Bellator banner for Burnell, having beaten Darko Banovic and Saul Rogers after making the switch from Cage Warriors.
He is riding a six-fight winning streak as he continues to rebuild his reputation following a difficult spell with the UFC.
Sanchez is 12-4 since joining Bellator in 2014 and he’s lost just two of his last nine, although both of those defeats have come at the hands of champion Freire.
Despite his fine record, Sanchez is the
11/10 underdog and offers great value to get back to winning ways at The Forum.
Nurmagomedov Set for Early Finish
Usman Nurmagomedov comes from good stock, the cousin of UFC legend Khabib, and he has done the family’s reputation absolutely no harm thus far.
He steps into the cage to face Manny Munro this weekend with a 12-0 record and it’s no surprise to see him priced as a heavy
There is still value to be found in this fight, however, and it could be worth back under 1.5 rounds at
25/27 or a Nurmagomedov win in round one at
Exactly half of his 12 professional fights have ended in the opening round and that trend looks set to continue in California.
*All odds correct at time of writing